Is Your Home’s Air Conditioner Ready For The Warm Weather?
With the spring season upon us, more and more homeowners are turning on their air conditioners for the first time this year. The warm weather is a welcome change to the record-low winter temperatures many U.S. cities recently experienced. Before you begin using your home’s central air conditioning, however, you should check to make sure it’s ready and capable of cooling your home.
By performing some routine maintenance on your home’s central air conditioning unit, you’ll not only improve its cooling ability, but you’ll also improve its energy usage. Heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems that are properly maintained heat/cool more efficiently while using less energy, which results in lower monthly utility bills for the homeowner.
Replace The Air Filter
HVAC systems use filters to catch impurities like dust, dander, bacteria and mold, preventing them traveling throughout the home. Allowing the air filter in your home’s HVAC system to go unchanged for longer than the recommended length of time will reduce its effectiveness while contributing to higher levels of indoor air pollution.
A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter at least once a month. Air filters are inexpensive and usually cost less than $5 a piece, so replacing them once a month shouldn’t place a heavy financial burden on your bank account.
Is It Low on Refrigerant?
Air conditioners use refrigerant, such as R-22 or R-410A, to cool air before its pumped throughout the home’s ventilation ducts. Normally, this refrigerator continues to perform its task of cooling the air without any issues. If there’s a leak, however, the air conditioner may run out of this key component, resulting in a wide range of problems.
If your HVAC system is pumping room-temperature air throughout your home, there’s a chance it could be low on refrigerant. Unfortunately, this isn’t something consumers are legally able to check, so you’ll need to call and make an appointment with a local HVAC technical in your area.
Check For Air Leaks
While HVAC technicians are required to test refrigerant levels, homeowners can still check for air leaks throughout their home. With the air conditioner running, check for leaks in the return ducts. Even small leaks can have a significant impact on the system’s overall performance and energy usage.
Air ducts should be sealed with a proper sealant, not duct tape. Some contractors and builders may try to cut corners by wrapping duct tape around vents and air ducts, but unfortunately this allows air to escape.